Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Tuesday, Bloody Tuesday

General Surgery / Ghoul
DNA Lounge, San Francisco

May 12, 2009

This has been a year of "firsts" in S.F. with Amebix, Coffins, and now General Surgery all making their debut appearances in San Franfuckincisco over the past 5 months. While Umlaut listens to a variety of music, this was the type of show that caused me to say out loud "I fucking love Metal shows...".. and I do. It was a small crowd in the DNA on this Tuesday School Night, but everyone was there for THE MUSIC; quality over quantity. Not a drunk hipster in site.

For the newbies, besides established local legends like Metallica, Testament, Machine Head, Death Angel, and Exodus, there is a vibrant underground Metal Scene thriving in S.F. and the East Bay that includes some of Umlaut's favorite bands.. such as Ludicra, Saros, Black Cobra, Acid King.. and now Ghoul.

For lack of a more imaginative description on my part, Ghoul are like Gwar's Bloody Euro Slasher Movie cousin. They hail from Creepsylvania, a charming hamlet nestled in the Volkov Mountains of Eastern Europe, and they took to the stage wearing bloody hoods after being introduced by The Curio Shoppe Owner. Metal Theater Rules! Ghoul play their own brand of 80's style Thrash Metal and it was obvious a large portion of the crowd were members of their Ghoulunatics Asylum.

(Pic by Umlaut)

The band's set was non-stop action... and I've seen the bass that bassist Cremator was playing onstage with another local band.. Hmm! For the set's finale they marched out their blood covered 7-foot tall mechanized mascot Kilbot, which was pretty damn impressive for a band from the Volkov Mountains!

General Surgery hail (HAIL!) from Stockholm (SWEDEN!).. GS have been around since 1990... GS have only released 3 albums and a handful of 7" singles and compilation tracks in that time.. and GS had never played on the West Coast before this tour (!). For lack of a more imaginative description on my part, General Surgery are like the surgeons in residence if Carcass operated a hospital, and they took to the stage wearing bloody surgical smocks just like real doctors.

(Pic by Umlaut)

The band's smocks and faces were freshened with new "blood" by a pair of hot Swedish nurses carrying buckets who came onstage during the set and who stood dutifully at the side of the stage when they weren't dispensing gore. The hot Swedish nurses also smeared "blood" on any willing audience members in the front row as the band dispensed the volume. Metal Theater Rules!

Despite the small crowd, General Surgery did exactly what a "real deal" band does: They didn't pander to the small audience. The Swedes simply stormed through their set as if they were in front of hundreds more Metalheads.. and the Metalheads in attendance loved it! The songs off their new CD Corpus In Extremis were GREAT, especially 'Virulent Corpus Dispersement'! It was all brutalicious... Classic Grind / Death Metal performed by seasoned musicians who were being smeared in "blood" by hot Swedish nurses. Who wouldn't love that!? You don't get that at Indie Rock shows, dude! METAL. For the set's finale, GS did a raging cover of the Repulsion song 'Maggots In Your Coffin' with Cremator of Ghoul swinging a giant battle axe around onstage. Metal Theater Rules!

A mere $12 for so much quality Metal and onstage Metal Theater was a righteous bargain, man. I didn't do a proper merch audit, but you could get a General Surgery shirt and CD for only $25. On the way back to the car, some pimply-faced teenagers called us fags. This was Umlaut's 23rd gig so far this year... pacing yourself is everything.